We’ve had a couple of difficult weeks here in the United States. Two weekends ago, white supremacy and domestic terrorism publicly reared their sinful heads in Virginia. (Too bad it took the specter of Tiki torch-bearing men shouting racist slogans and the murder of civil rights advocate Heather Heyer to shake so many people out of privileged complacency and denial.)... Read more
Sumer is icumen in.
Lhude sing cuckoo!
Summer has come in—or so the “Cuckoo Song,” also known as the “Summer Canon,” tells me. The piece, which dates to the 13th century, is the oldest known musical composition to feature six-part polyphony. In other words, it was composed as a round that could feature up to six different voices or groups simultaneously singing... Read more
EDITORS’ NOTE: Adam Copeland was our scheduled contributor for this week, but as we moved late into the night of the presidential election, it was clear that the outcome many of us had hoped for, and perhaps even expected, was not to happen. We began to wonder whether it might be too much to ask a single writer, a single voice, to carry the weight of that experience... Read more
As we ease into our third year of publication of The BTS Center’s award-winning blog, Bearings, co-editors Elizabeth Drescher and Alyssa Lodewick have been mulling the role of outlets like ours in shaping what the Church is becoming in a dynamic religious landscape. We’re excited to continue what we see as a multi-dimensional dialogue that extends across that terrain.... Read more
Perhaps because I have spent so many years of my life in school and church settings, I relish these last few weeks of August. Sure, classes may be starting in educational institutions across the nation, but in my mind, “academic summer”—with its more luxurious, relaxed pace—won’t officially end until after Labor Day, when vacations come to a close, the speed of... Read more
Like many Americans, I still am reeling from last Sunday’s shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. I am haunted by the death and destruction that separated 2 AM’s celebratory last call from 5 AM’s bloody wakeup call. Three hours. 180 minutes. Forty-nine individuals murdered, and more than 50 wounded.
Most of the men and women terrorized and killed were members... Read more
During the four hot, humid months between my junior and senior years of college, I waited tables at Beethoven’s Inn, a hole-in-the-wall deli that served sandwiches named after classical music composers. The realm of the “Handel, Bach, and Scarlatti” was a land of firsts for me. There, I ate gazpacho for the first time. I interacted with members of a traveling circus... Read more
It’s December, and we have entered the season of narrative. Around the globe, adorable children in Sunday School classrooms are presenting nativity pageants in hundreds of different languages. They don headgear cut from bedsheets and cardboard-and-aluminum angels’ wings. Nervous but excited, they anxiously watch for their pageant directors’ cues . . . and then,... Read more
Editor’s Introduction: Sometimes, words do not suffice—and yet, during a week marked by horrific bombings in Paris and Beirut and wrenching debates over welcoming refugees from Iraq and Syria to our shores, we have been bombarded by them. Words flowing out of the mouths of television analysts. Words marching across the pages of newspapers and newsmagazines. Words... Read more
Big Data. Analytics. They’re not just for corporations, health insurance companies, and advertising agencies anymore. In an era obsessed with return on investment and concrete measurements of success, churches, spiritual communities, and religious institutions are evaluating their own relationships to numbers.
Take the United Church of Christ, for example. It... Read more